The only diamond used in the Prisdorf variant of Fipsen
|Players||4 or 5|
|Card rank (highest first)||A K Q J 10 9 8 7|
|Features: skat, no diamonds|
Fipsen or Fips is an old north German card game for 4 or 5 players that resembles Nap and Mau Mau in some respects. It is a trick-taking game played with a standard Skat pack. In one variant, all the diamonds except one are removed. It has been described as "quite a special card game" that is "ancient, but very easy to learn". In the village of Thedinghausen it is played for currant buns called Hedewigs.
History and distribution
Fipsen is an old card game that is mentioned as early as 1863 being played then in Mecklenburg by farmers alongside Dreikart and Solo. By the 1920s it was being played in the Vierlande area of Hamburg state, other games like Dreekort again being mentioned. Fipsen is still played in north Germany, for example in the counties of Pinneberg, Segeberg and Stormarn in Schleswig-Holstein and Verden in Lower Saxony. In the village of Thedinghausen, the local 5-player version of the game is traditionally played for currant buns called Hedewigs. In 2017, a Fipsen tournament was held in Pinneberg.
There are two variants—one considerably more complex than the other. The simpler version is based on a report of the game as played today in Thedinghausen, a village southeast of Bremen. The more complex is based on a record of the game played at Prisdorf north of Hamburg.
The Thedinghausen rules may be summarised:
Five players play with a normal Skat pack of 32 cards.
|Card ranking within the suits|
|A K Q J 10 9 8 7||A K Q J 10 9 8 7||A K Q J 10 9 8 7||A K Q J 10 9 8 7|
Each player antes the cost of a hedewig to the pot. After shuffling and offering the pack to his right to be cut, the dealer deals five cards to each player and then turns the next as trumps. The remaining six cards are placed to one side and not used. The aim is to win as many tricks as possible.
Forehand (to the dealer's left) leads to the first trick. Suit must be followed; if that is not possible players must trump and overtrump if able. If a player, after receiving his five cards, announces "fipsen", this is a slam contract and he has to win all five tricks.
The first player to win ten tricks wins five hedewigs. If a player wins a fipsen, he earns double, i.e. five hedewigs. If he loses even just one trick to an opponent, however, he must pay five hedewigs.
After each round, the winner is given his slip and, at the end of play, players work out how many hedewigs they have won. A hedewig is a type of currant bun local to the region and also known as a Heißwecke.
|Card ranking within the suits|
|A K Q J 10 9 8 7||A K Q J 10 9 8 7||A K Q J 10 9 8 7||7|
A two-card skat is placed on the table after the first packet of 3 cards is dealt to each player and before the second packet of 2 is dealt, giving each player five hand cards. Three cards are placed to one side and only used for the special bid of Kieker. There is then an auction in which players bid to win a minimum number of tricks and, optionally, a Ruten or Hand contract if desired. The value of the game corresponds to the number of tricks bid, e.g. a bid of 3 tricks is worth 3 points multiplied by either or both of the contracts below:
- Handspiel - The declarer opts not to use the skat. Doubles the game value.
- Ruten - The declarer announces diamonds as trumps (there is only one diamond). Also doubles the game value.
Bidding starts at two tricks. In addition, if the declarer wins every trick it is a Durch, and his score is doubled. However, if the declarer fails to achieve his target, he loses double his potential winnings.
If the skat is used, the declarer may discard any two cards. Players must follow suit, but if unable may play any card, unlike the Thedinghausen variant.
A player may bid a Kieker if they have no court cards. This entitles them to pick up the skat and the 3 unused cards and make 5 discards. He must now win all five tricks.
- Brockhaus 1937, p. 55.
- Fipsen, ein ganz besonderes Kartenspiel at www.kreiszeitung.de. Retrieved 28 November 2018
- "Sitten und Bräuche zu Weihnachten" in De Latücht, No. 15, December 1993, KKVV, Hamburg, p. 5. Based on Die Vierlande by Ernst Finder.
- Fipsen at www.pagat.com. Retrieved 28 November 2018
- "Und dann hat sie mich einfach weggefangen" at www.shz.de. Retrieved 28 November 2018
- SPD-Tangstedt lädt zum Skat, Knobeln, Fipsen at www.spd-segeberg.de. Retrieved 28 November 2018
- Preisskat und Fipsen in www.pinneberger-tafel.de. Retrieved 17 Aug 2019.
- _ (1863). Deutsche Jahrbücher für Politik und Literatur. Vol. 7, Mai-Heft. Guttentag, Berlin.
- Brockhaus, F.A. (1937). Der Neue Brockhaus. Brockhaus, Leipzig.
- Fipsen. Description and Prisdorf rules.
- Fipsen, ein ganz besonderes Kartenspiel. Description and Thedinghausen rules.
- SPD-Tangstedt lädt zum Skat, Knobeln und Fipsen ein Competition and outline rules.